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Florida's Founding Father

Spanish explorer Ponce de Leon discovered Florida in 1513, but it was American industrialist Henry Flagler who created the foundation that would turn the state into the agricultural paradise, tourist destination, and commercial center it is today. Indeed, many would say that Flagler invented modern-day Florida.


Before ever visiting Florida, Flagler, a self-made man and the son of a Presbyterian minister, co-founded Standard Oil with John D. Rockefeller and Samuel Andrews in 1870. Rockefeller is better known, but when asked how he created Standard Oil's innovative multi-state corporate structure, he responded, "I wish I'd had the brains to think of it. It was Henry M. Flagler."


Flagler first visited Florida in 1878 when he took his wife there from New York to help her recover from illness. He saw an underdeveloped state with great potential - America's last frontier. At an age when many of his peers had retired, Flagler embarked on a new career as Florida's most prolific developer and greatest benefactor. He built a railroad that eventually stretched from St. Augustine to Key West and a series of hotels to house the railroad's passengers from the north who came to see the sunny new frontier. In the process he developed massive amounts of land along the entire east coast of Florida, including a small town in south Florida that local residents wanted to name "Flagler." But Flagler insisted it be named after the local Indian tribe, so it was called "Miami."

We enjoyed visiting the Flagler Museum, Flagler's former winter home in Palm Beach, and the venerable Breakers Hotel which he built a few blocks away. Additional photos may be found in the East Coast Gallery on Adagio's website.

Flagler Museum, Palm Beach


Lobby of the Breakers Hotel, Palm Beach


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3 Comments


Guest
Mar 14, 2022

Favorite room in the Flagler home is the one gilded in the precious metal of the day-aluminum! To think the home was almost demolished. Hh

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Guest
Mar 14, 2022

I just love the lessons we are learning along with the visual treats! Thank you for sharing these treasures from your grand adventure. Hugs, MW

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Guest
Mar 14, 2022

So interesting….. oh I love it❣️

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